Norwood Flames 74 | Forestville Eagles 62
An all-round team performance has seen the Flames consolidate their spot in the top 5, accounting for a persistent Eagles team that remained in the game till the final minutes.
A high tempo start saw Norwood race away to an early lead, with both Shannon McKay and Jessy Ward clinically knocking down efforts from long range. The first quarter belonged to McKay, showcasing her speed and poise to collect 14 points in a classy display.
Forestville did hit back later in the quarter with the ever-present Olivia Thompson combining with Meg Prosser for 12 points. However, the Eagles still trailed by 11 at the first break, with three early fouls for sharp-shooter Sam Defrancesco also a concern.
Norwood picked up where they left off, with leader Jess Good strolling in for consecutive buckets. Whilst a true star in her own right, the Flames captain has an uncanny ability to bring her teammates into the contest recording five assists in the first half alone.
Whilst Forestville took some time to work into the match, once they found their beat it was a good sight to watch. Again Prosser and Thompson worked well in tandem, showing the way for their less experienced teammates.
One of these newcomers, Darcy Rees, has continued to grow in confidence each and every game. She held her own in the second term, pulling down crucial boards and pushing the momentum the Eagles way.
At half time, just a single point separated the sides, this match was well and truly up for the taking.
Prosser picked up back-to-back baskets but was quickly answered by a Marisa Stabile effort. Stabile was growing into the match, with an excellent second half- particularly on boards, going on to record a 15 point, 11 rebound double-double.
Jessy Ward was also a constant presence, continuing her good form this season scoring a game-high 19 points, as well as five boards.
Whilst Norwood began to control the contest with slick passing and pressing up on the Eagles inbounders, there was still little to separate the sides at the last change, only a six point Flames advantage.
Perhaps the importance of a win began to show in the last, with both teams turning the ball over as the high-tempo persisted.
Sam Defrancesco put her early foul-trouble behind her and whilst down on her usual points output, she tried her utmost to push the game Forestville’s way.
However, Norwood was able to hold firm and withstanding an Eagles challenge, with Stabile and Ward especially prominent contributors in the final stages.
Thompson could only manage four second-half points but was still amongst the Eagles best with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Prosser top scored for Forestville with 18 points and 6 boards, as the Eagles came so close in a tight encounter.
Ward and McKay both finished with 19 points for the Flames, but it was again Jess Good that was Norwood’s most consistent. Her seven assists and seven steals would please Coach Darren Golley, with her 15 points a welcome constant this season.